The Division of Pc Science and Engineering of IIT-Madras lately introduced that it had developed a microprocessorchristened ‘Moushik’. It makes use of a 180-nanometer semiconductor chip and could be programmed for plenty of makes use of akin to in credit score and debit playing cards, surveillance cameras, shopper electronics, voting machines and numerous sensors.
One instinctive response to that is: isn’t this re-inventing the wheel? Who wants a desi microprocessor when the stuffis accessible low-cost and aplenty on the earth?
Such a reasoning is completely fallacious, says Prof V Kamakoti, who headed the workforce that developed the microprocessor.
In a chat with Enterprise Line, Kamakoti identified that imported microprocessors are a possible safety danger. “We all know what it (the imported microprocessor) can do; however we can’t inform that it’ll not do what we don’t need it to do.” In a way, an importer microprocessor is sort of a “black field”; we have no idea what all it incorporates, whereas an indigenous one is just not.
Kamakoti can also be a member of the Nationwide Safety Advisory Board. As India is about to maneuver into the next degree of digital gadgetry – an explosion of sensors is anticipated, with use in healthcare, precision agriculture and internet-of-things – and the function of microprocessors will increase correspondingly. There are going to be billions of units, and every would wish a microprocessor.
Additionally, when makes use of imported processors are used, we willneed to develop purposes in accordance with the processor’s capabilities. “That is like reducing the foot to suit the shoe,” says Kamakoti. Moreover, in circumstances the place a processor must be used for strategic software, even the safety clearance will take a really very long time – even so long as 15 years. And, if the vendor of the processor stops supporting it, you then would wish to purchase a brand new processor and reconfigure the complete system for compatibility.
Nonetheless, the Moushik microprocessor is totally open supply, which suggests the supply codes can be found within the public area. Anyone might develop it additional to swimsuit his wants, with out having to reveal it.
“We would like start-ups to take up our microprocessor and create companies out of it,” mentioned Kamakoti.
What about Moushik having been constructed with ‘180 nm know-how’?
The ‘nanometer’ within the context of semiconductors means the dimensions of the transistors, that are like ‘mind cells’. The smaller the transistor, the smaller the gadget could be. At this time, in a world the place semiconductor conductor producers akin to Samsung and TSMC have gone as small as 5 nm transistors – leaving even Intel behind at 14 nm – 180 nm appears historic.
To this query, Kamakoti noticed that there are nonetheless 1000’s of digital units that work completely nicely on ‘180 nm know-how’. India’s semiconductor laboratory in Chandigarh is absolutely able to making the 180 nm semiconductor – so the Moushik microprocessor syncs nicely with the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative. Measurement is just not so important while you discuss of units akin to surveillance cameras or washing machines.
If India could make good with indigenous chips for a big a part of its market, it might probably higher train its buying energy within the worldwide markets, mentioned Kamakoti.
What about prices?
Stating that the fee associated to scale, Kamakoti mentioned that if a million chips could possibly be manufactured, they could possibly be offered for 50 cents apiece, the identical costs as imported.
The Moushik is the third chip of the ‘Shakthi household’ that the CSE workforce in IIT-Madras has developed.